You don't hear much about the logistics business on TV or read much about it in the newspaper. In fact, most people in America don't have a clue about how modern, sophisticated logistics networks whisk products to warehouses and store shelves every day. Nor do they understand the pivotal role distribution centers play in international trade.
Yet worldwide activity in DC construction and advances in logistics are transforming the global economy.
Just look at all of the new DC construction and port modernization projects under way around the world. Check out the state-of-the-art communications and tracking technologies that are starting to become commonplace in the industry. Simply put, there is a remarkable and rapid transformation occurring in the international trading system.
The world's vast network of interlocking transportation channels and high-tech distribution centers is moving into the 21st century at warp speed. The shipping and handling industry of a few years ago is going to look downright archaic in a few years. In fact, in some parts of the world, it already does.
Huge new facilities are being built all over China, such as Bosch Group's new automotive supply center in Changsa, the capital of Hunan province. This $6.3 million facility, which occupies 100,000-plus square feet of space, will help meet the needs of China's fast-growing car and truck industry. This comes on top of the almost $90 million invested by Bosch for plant and equipment in the city.
According to the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP), the "total logistics flow" in China was up nearly 26 percent in 2007. The group notes that China is ranked 30th in the world in terms of logistics efficiency by the World Bank. That leaves plenty of room for improvement—and investment.
Then there is the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which sits on some 7 percent of the world's known oil reserves in the Persian Gulf. This country (which was founded just 30 years ago and is made up of seven city-states) is intent on becoming a regional leader in logistics. A few months ago, industrial real estate developer ProLogis announced that it would develop a 798,000-square-foot DC in one of those city-states, Dubai, for transportation solutions provider Aramex. The facility is going up in the Dubai Logistics City (DLC), a new logistics hub at the Port of Jebel Ali, one of the largest container ports in the world.
The DLC is just the first phase of a $33 billion project called Dubai World Central, which will include one of the world's largest multimodal logistics platforms. The goal is to become a global logistics hub serving the entire Middle East and Africa.
That's just a tiny sample of what's happening around the world. Similar distribution projects are being designed and built in India, Indonesia, Brazil, Australia, Japan, and Europe, not to mention here in our own country.
So isn't it funny that you never hear about all of this in the general media? Seems the reporters are too busy writing about our nation's ailing economy to hear the drilling of jackhammers and thud of pile drivers as mega-distribution complexes go up around the planet. But whether the media take note of it or not, the trend appears to be unstoppable. It seems that the logistics sector is entering a Golden Age, with an even brighter future ahead.